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The Healing Power of Humor


By Silvia C.

The calendar in my computer room just taught me something today... It said: ""A cheerful heart is good medicine." King Solomon (Proverbs 17:22). It's so true, too. After my son died and for many years after Nicky was born, I was incapable of watching any TV show that was too dramatic, it was only Friends & Seinfeld for me, and I loved Jay Leno! I simply felt the NEED to laugh. My goal during bandage changes for Nicky ever since he could understand is to make him laugh at least once, more if I am successful! I do this every time because my son seems so much more relaxed and enjoys this tense time with me when I do this, even though he is in pain.

Humor is very healing in many aspects of our lives. Comedy helps our psyche and well being, and many studies show that scientifically it does even more than that! According to recent studies, laughter produces endorphins which lessen pain, increases production of T-cells, interferon and immune proteins called globulins and even significantly lowers cortisol levels and returns the body to a more relaxed state. It even boosts your immune system! Dr. Cousins, who in 1964 was diagnosed with a crippling and extremely painful inflammation of his body, stated that: "I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep." Dr. Cousins later recovered from his condition and spent the next 20 years teaching about the merits of laughter and humor in healing.

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It should come of no surprise then when watching 'Last Comic Standing' that two of the initial semi-finalists of this season had some sort of disability. One guy had Cerebral Palsy, while one of the gals had a pronounced Lisp. They were both hilarious and were audience favorites. They made fun of themselves and I cannot think of a better way to handle their condition! I often hear from School Bus drivers, teachers and others who come in contact with Nicky how funny he is, and I am so glad!

What can you do to find humor in your life? Anything can be funny, as I found out when I was forced to find something to make my son laugh during bandage changes. Keep funny pictures of family and friends around you, anything that will make you smile will do! If you like jokes or funny, subscribe to some of those! You like comedies? Rent or watch those exclusively. Think of something funny or embarrassing that has happened to you or a friend/relative and have a good laugh!

The world is so serious, and it does not need to be. Adding humor to your life will allow your child to grow into a fun and light-hearted person, one that will never know the meaning of 'depression'. The end result might very well be that laughter will help everyone in your family live longer, too!

© Silvia C.
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